14 May 2004
Close U.S.-Iraqi Military Relationship Expected After June 30
Coalition Provisional Authority Report, May 14:
A Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) spokesman sought to clarify
the relationship between coalition military forces and the Iraqi
interim government after June 30.
At a news briefing in Baghdad May 14, CPA Senior Adviser Dan Senor
said that coalition forces "technically have a legal right to remain
in Iraq through the constitutional process under U.N. Security
Council Resolution 1511." However, he also said the CPA does not
anticipate that being an issue since "to my knowledge ... U.S.
forces never stay in a foreign country ... if we are not wanted."
Senor said the United States anticipates "a close partnership" with
the new Iraqi interim government and "the majority of Iraqis (leaders)
we deal with anticipate a close partnership."
Senor said there was agreement that "there will be a significant
terror threat here post-June 30th." The Iraqi Security Forces will
not be in a position to defend against it, he said, "so there will
be a (continued) need for U.S. forces. There seems to be a real
consensus around that."
Senor stressed that the CPA "is not conducting its own investigation" into
Iraqi abuses that occurred under the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program. "We
are facilitating the work of the Board of Supreme Audit(s)," he
said. "We consider the Board of Supreme Audits' examination of
alleged Oil-for-Food abuses to be another important and concrete
step toward returning sovereignty to Iraqi officials...."
Also at the briefing, Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, deputy director
of coalition operations for Combined Joint Task Force 7, said that
293 prisoners were released at Abu Ghraib May 14. He said the next
prisoner release will occur on May 21 with the anticipated release
of 475 prisoners, including 22 prisoners whose release was delayed
Turning to the military situation, Kimmitt said coalition forces
at Najaf responded to several attacks by Muqtada al-Sadr's militia.
The first attack came shortly before 0700 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT),
with mortar rounds fired at the main Najaf police station while
two tanks came under fire while passing through a traffic circle.
After further attacks at 0800 and 0930 GMT, Kimmitt said, coalition
forces located an enemy 60-millimeter mortar position and rocket-propelled
grenade teams inside a cemetery. He said that helicopters "were
unable to engage the enemy due to [enemy] proximity to the Ali
shrine," so ground troops were called in, and they "engaged and
destroyed the mortar teams" just after 1100 GMT.
Kimmitt also said charges were referred against an Army specialist
who will be arraigned along with two Army sergeants in May, with
all three facing court-martial proceedings.
The full transcript of the CPA briefing is available on the Web